GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- A huge offensive performance powered the Trine baseball team to a doubleheader sweep of Calvin in MIAA-action Monday afternoon at Calvin Field.
The Thunder scored 23 runs on 33 hits in the doubleheader, 10 of which went for extra bases. Trine's 20 hits in game two were tied for the second-most on record in a game in team history. The Thunder took game one 11-2, before rallying back from an early four-run deficit to prevail 12-9 in the nightcap. J.J. LaBounty (Avon, Ind. / Covenant Christian), Jake Kendall (New Castle, Ind. / New Castle) and Jacob Heller (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Prairie Heights) led the offensive onlsaught with five hits apiece. LaBounty picked up a team-high six RBIs. Trine improved to 7-7 overall and opened MIAA play 3-1 by taking three of four from the Knights. Calvin fell to 5-10 overall, 1-3 in conference play.
Game One: Trine 11, Calvin 2
A 13-hit effort combined with a strong outing from Vinny Slobodecki (Carol Stream, Ill. / Glenbard North) ensured the Thunder at least a split in the season-opening MIAA series.
Three runs in the first proved to be all Trine would need. LaBounty's two-run double and a sac fly by Bob Ross (Valparaiso, Ind. / Washington Township) provided the scoring in the inning. The Thunder would add two more in the second on a pair of bases-loaded walks to go up 5-1 after the Knights got on the board in the bottom of the first.
The two teams traded single runs in the fourth. Drew Palmer (Hartford, Wis. / Hartford Union) struck Trine's blow with an RBI-double, while Calvin kept within 6-2 on Ryan Stewart's RBI groundout.
Five runs in the sixth turned the game into a blowout. The Thunder got its first run on a wild pitch, before a second RBI-double from Palmer made the lead 8-2. LaBounty struck with his second two-run double of the day and Kory Shackle (Butler, Ohio / Mount Vernon) capped the scoring with an RBI-single.
Slobodecki went the distance for Trine for his first win since his freshman campaign. The junior scattered eight hits and allowed two earned runs in seven innings of work. He struck out three in his 97-pitch effort, throwing 69 of his pitches for strikes to improve to 1-1 on the year.
Kendall reached base four times in game one with two hits and two walks. Heller notched his first career three-hit game and scored three runs, while Palmer and LaBounty each collected two hits and combined for six RBIs.
Game Two: Trine 12, Calvin 9
The Thunder had to fight back from a four-run deficit, but the 20-hit effort proved to be enough to lead Trine to to its third-straight win.
Three-run innings in the second and third put the Knights in business with a 6-2 lead after Trine had taken the early advantage. Stewart provided the highlight with a solo home run, while Steven Seager knocked in a run with a sac fly in each inning.
The Thunder scored three times before Calvin could record an out in the fourth to begin the comeback efforts. Heller knocked in a run with a single, before Kendall cut the deficit to one with a two-run single. LaBounty's final RBI of the afternoon knotted the score on a single, before Shackle put Trine ahead with another RBI-single.
A sac fly by Ross in the sixth and another RBI single by Kendall helped push the score to 10-6. The Knights rallied to cut the deficit to 10-9 with a three-run seventh, highlighted by a two-run single from Seager.
A two-out rally resulted in an RBI-single for Kevin O'Malley (Commerce Township, Mich. / Walled Lake Central) to give the Thunder an insurance run in the eighth. Trine tacked on another insurance tally in the ninth when Palmer singled home another run.
Jake Weimer (Pittsboro, Ind. / Brownsburg) nailed down his first save of the year in the bottom of the ninth. The senior allowed one hit and fanned one.
Grant Frankland (Fishers, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) picked up his first career victory with some clutch relief work in the middle innings. Franklin entered in the bottom of the third to pitch five innings of work. The junior allowed three earned runs on six hits, walked two and struck out one.
O'Malley notched his first career three-hit game and first career extra-base hit in game two. Zach Thorn (Portage, Ind. / Portage) and LaBounty each added three hits.
With the victory in game two, Trine improved to 2-0 in nine-inning conference games. The MIAA adopted a new format of playing one seven-inning and one nine-inning game in doubleheaders this year, scrapping the previous format of playing two seven-inning games.
Trine returns to action Saturday, Apr. 2 when the Thunder open another MIAA series at home against Olivet. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.